I was on the BART this morning heading to work. It’s a 45 minute ride and I was feeling a little sleepy, so I figured I’d nap until we hit Fremont.
About 10 minutes into the ride, I hear someone say, “Excuse me”. He repeats it a couple of times and I open my eyes.
I was expecting to see someone trying to get around me, or maybe ask me for money. But I wasn’t expecting what this guy did.
Once he got my attention and the attention of the few people sitting around me, his face takes on a serious caste and he says, “Believe that the Giants can win this World Series.”
He doesn’t yell it or even raise his voice a bit. He doesn’t gesture widely or do anything to make you think that he isn’t right in the head. He just tells us to believe.
I and the other folks around look at him for minute and we share a few brief glances. We look back at him and he’s smiling — again, nothing crazy about him — just the smile of someone that believes and wants to share that belief with others. A smile that says it’s worth it to have a little faith in your team.
I’m a recent transplant to the area and honestly not much of a baseball fan. But I’ll be watching the game tonight and rooting for the Giants because of this guy.
Today’s experience reminded me that I have to keep the faith and that I have to try inspiring it in others.
For what I do, the team is THE thing that makes the difference. Money and talent can do a lot, but if you aren’t able to pull everyone together and focus them, then you won’t get there. The inability to put the team’s goals first is the thing that kills projects more often than bad planning, soft budgets, or crazy timelines. If you have the right people and they believe, then you always have a shot at winning.
But we also need believers in the classrooms, board rooms and conferences. Every project needs Champions, but it also needs people at every level who believe enough in the team to give their attention and skills when needed, to offer advice without an agenda, and to embrace the change you are pushing.